This is one in a series of posts reviewing and looking at how some of the SEO companies which use bulk emails/spam with ‘we can help your terrible site’ type emails really can (and actually mostly can’t!) help your site.
This time the email came in from an ‘Solveig’ who was using an @dellantech.com email address. The email came into my big Christmas site. (I often remove the last name of spammers for privacy, but I’m 100% sure this is a fake name.)
The subject was “Re: whychristmas.com : Error Fixation Required.” (another SEO spammer using the ‘re’ to make it look like you’ve been in contact with them before) and it went:
Dear whychristmas.com Owner,
Hope you are doing well !
I’m a senior digital marketing expert with 10+ years of experience.
I went through your website and found that your website has lots of broken links as well as technical errors which break the rules of Google algorithm.
Some of your error on the website: whychristmas.com
· 4 pages with harmful broken links.
· No meta tag & title tag.
· Your website doesn’t have a canonical tag.
· Your website doesn’t have a updated sitemap.
· Google bot is not able to Crawl Your Website.
· Your website does not have a webmaster tool.
Frankly speaking if we don’t fix these errors then it will create a very bad impact on your website visibility. It affects the reputation of the domain. As a result google will remove your expensive website from the search engine because your website didn’t follow the algorithms of google.
Let me know if you’re interested in fixing the error on your website whychristmas.com . Then I will assign a digital marketing manager to send you all your website errors with a full analysis report & help you to fix all these errors.
I’m waiting for your positive reply to help your website to make it’s search engine friendly.
Senior Digital Marketing Expert
( Error Fixation Cost : $100 One Time To Fix All The Errors Of Your Website & Make It’s Search Engine Friendly.)
( N.B : If you are really interested in fixing all the errors then reply to me. Because I am not telling any fake things or doing any spam. I want to help your organization. )
Wow this is one of the most blatant and ‘out there’ bits of SEO spam I’ve seen in a while. Basically NOTHING on the email is true – as we’ll see later!
I also love the “I am not telling any fake things or doing any spam” because YES THEY ARE to both!
Anyway, I replied – cos that’s what I do!
I’m interested, please send over your analysis report.
A couple of days later I got a reply from a ‘David Miller’ (another 100% fake name) who was using an @webtrolive.com email address. The reply went:
Hello Why Christmas Team,
Thanks for showing interest in our service.
Q.I’m interested, please send over your analysis report.
Re: No need to be worried about the website. We will make your site completely error free and search engine friendly as per search engine algorithm. I have attached a website analysis report PDF with this email for your reference. Looking over your website and deeply analyzing it with my support team, I found a few technical issues, broken links and errors in your website. You will see a drastic change after the fixation. Client satisfaction is our main priority. You will definitely be happy with our work.
Firstly we need to fix all the technical issues , broken links present in your website to make your website search engine friendly. We will fix all bugs on your website. Also we will do on page optimization and on site optimization by updating some on page codes in your website. In this process we will fix all the Tags, Robot.txt, Gzip Code, Canonical Tag on your website so that GOOGLE indexes your website landing pages. Also we will fix H1 tags on your website. We will connect your site to a search engine tool which helps to boost your site rank. All our work processes are based upon white hat process. After the fixation we will generate high page rank backlinks which help the site for search engine quick indexing also it will improve the visibility of the site as a result you will get lots of traffic.
Objectives of the campaign:
· Making the website completely error free as per the search engine algorithm.
· Going for trending keywords to get more traffic to your website.
· working on the landing pages for those keywords, to make sure the keyword performance is enhanced by the search result.
· Promoting the website with various social media with articles and blog posting to grab traffic.
· Generating High PR backlinks to grab more traffic.
See Our Portfolio : [link removed for privacy].
Please let me know if you have any questions for me.
Looking forward to your earliest response.
( Digital Marketing Manager With Cloud Certified.)
[Contacts removed for privacy]
Attached to the email was a PDF report, which was erm ‘interesting’; we’ll have a good look at that later…
So I replied to David and I had some questions!
I’ve been a web designer and developer for 20 over years. I reply to SEO spammers to see what ‘services’ they offer and the things they say and use to get clients.
My site has also been on the web for over 20 years. It gets over 20 MILLION page views every year, so it’s always interesting to get emails, from out of the blue, telling me what ‘errors’ it has… And the emails from your company were especially ‘interesting’.
Please can you tell me why ALL of the ‘errors’ in Solveig’s email were wrong/untruthful?
I see from your report that you used SEOptimer to make it. On your report it gives my site a C. However, I run my the site through SEOptimer, it gives it an A+ (he highest score that SEOoptimer gives). You can see it here: https://www.seoptimer.com/www.whychristmas.com That seems rather odd.
Also comparing the reports, there are 10 ‘errors’ on your report that SEOptimer says are ‘Good’ when I run the check? Can you explain this, it seems very confusing.
Please can you tell me why your company thinks it’s ok to spam people, from random email accounts, to get business?
is your company happy breaching multiple international laws?
Your initial email was IN BREACH OF ALL the pieces of anti-spam legislation listed below (and many others from around the world).
For the UK (where I live and your site lists an office) you are not allowed to sent marketing emails to an individual without their permission – you did this: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/electronic-and-telephone-marketing/electronic-mail-marketing/ (Under UK law, I am an ‘individual’ as I’m a Sole Trader, not a Ltd Company.)
For the USA (where your site says you’re based), you are breaking several aspects of CAN-SPAM compliance: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business
For CASL in Canada, you need consent to send electronic marketing – which you did not have: https://fightspam-combattrelepourriel.ised-isde.canada.ca/site/canada-anti-spam-legislation/en/getting-consent-send-email (You also need other business identifiers in the emails, which your emails do not have.)
The Anti Spam Act in Australia has similar conditions for consent and identity, which your emails also do not meet: https://www.acma.gov.au/avoid-sending-spam
In South Africa there is the Protection of Personal Information Act, which says you have to have consent to send people marketing emails, which you did not have: https://ispa.org.za/spam/
In France the Trust in the Digital Economy Act says that you have to have consent to send marketing emails, which you did not have: https://www.culture.gouv.fr/en/Thematiques/Industries-culturelles-et-creatives/Dossiers-thematiques/Le-spam/Le-cadre-juridique-La-legislation-francaise-en-matiere-de-spam
For The Netherlands, the Dutch Telecommunications Act says that you need consent to send people marketing emails, which you did not have. It also says that the true identity of the party should be disclosed up front, which you did not do. https://sherloc.unodc.org/cld/document/nld/1988/telecommunications_act_of_the_netherlands.html?
I look forward to getting your answers to my questions.
The next day, I had some identical spam to the one which Solveig had sent. This time from a ‘Nitte Allen’ who was using an @zenproweb.com email account.
I also replied to them…
It’s been well over a week and I’ve not heard back from David or Nitte. If I do, I’ll post an update on here!
Their Report & Recommendations
Firstly, let’s have a look at the ‘technical errors which break the rules of Google algorithm’ which the spam from Solveig and Nitte said I had on my site (tl;dr, there are NONE and none of these would ‘break the rules of Google algorithm’ as that’s not really a thing….)
4 pages with harmful broken links.
WRONG. If you use an auto scan, it might see some ‘broken’ results. But this is due to those sites blocking the auto scan tool, the links are just fine. However, I seriously doubt they’ve done any checks and every sites they spam has ‘4 pages with harmful broken links’…
No meta tag & title tag.
WRONG. The pages do. (This is very simple to check)
Your website doesn’t have a canonical tag.
WRONG. The pages do. (This is very simple to check)
WRONG. They are. (This is very simple to check)
Your website doesn’t have a updated sitemap.
WRONG. It does. (This is very simple to check)
Google bot is not able to Crawl Your Website.
WRONG. It can. My site is fully indexed on Google.
Your website does not have a webmaster tool.
WRONG. It does. There are few ways you can do it. They could only tell of the ways. But let’s be honest, they’ve not checked, they’re just lying, like all the points above.
So ALL of those items are lies and scare tactics. That’s not a good start for them is it?
BUT IT GETS WORSE – LOTS WORSE.
Now to the ‘report’! As I said in my email to David – something is VERY odd about it.
I’ve dealt with many SEO spammer who use an online SEO scanning tool called SEOpimer – it’s a good service.
However, with all the other reports, they’ve just given the ‘errors’ which the auto tool shows – and still gives my site. (These include things like saying I don’t have an analytics as it can’t detect the one I use; and giving errors for things like not using a Facebook tracking Pixel or having a LinkedIn or Instagram account – things that are irrelevant for my site!)
BUT I’ve never had an SEO spammer send me a report with several errors that ARE NOT on the SEOpimer site when I check it! Yes ‘David’ and Webtrolive Web Solution did.
Their report gave my site my site a ‘C’, whereas if I run the site, through the same tool, it gives me an ‘A+’. There are also 10 ‘errors’ on the report from Webtrolive Web Solution which ARE NOT given when I use the same tool…
I can only think of two reasons they did this.
- They didn’t use the tool correctly (although it’s pretty basic, you put a domain in a press a button!).
- The deliberately ‘edited’ the report to make it look like my site has more errors than it does. (So they could claim to have fixed them without having actually done anything?!)
Neither incompetence or fraud is good.
And of course all of the ‘errors’ in the spam from Solveig & Nitte were also wrong/untrue/down right lies. Hmmmmmmmm.
Looking at Their Site
With SEO spammers, I also like to look at their sites, to see if they practice what they preach (I mean would you trust a plumber who had leaking and rusty pipes all over their own house?!); and also to compare their site with a site they say they can help…
I had spam from the domains dellantech.com and zenproweb.com. Both domains were registered within a month of each other in September/October 2022 and then both use the same hosting company in India.
The two domains have basically IDENTICAL sites (except for name in the top left hand corner).
The sites use a free, off the shelf WordPress template called ‘Freelancer’. I know this because they’ve left the text and link to it in the site’s footer on dellantech.com!
They also appear to have left basically all of the demo contents! This includes a ‘numbers’ panel which says they’ve had 934 Successful Projects, 473 Quality Customers and 502 Trusted Partners – all in just over six months!
It’s also quite easy to find other iffy looking SEO companies who also use the same template, and who have also left all the default content in – because they also all have the same number of projects, customers and partners!
In fact I’m not sure they’ve fundamentally changed ANYTHING from the dummy content on the site. This includes all the copy on the Services and About pages – which are full of more fake numbers and staff members with stock photo faces! (The zenproweb.com About page dies say they’ve been in business for over 25 years though – yeah right… Although I HAVE been making sites for 23 years!)
On the Contact page for this theme, it just comes with a contact form. No address, no phone number, no social media links – and guess what, that’s all you get on these two sites.
This is another in the line of ‘done basically nothing to put a fake site together’ of SEO spammers.
Their main domain is at webtrolive.com which was registered in October 2019.
I normally use some basic online tools to check for HTML and Accessibility issues. However, the Webtrolive site has some blocking scripts which stop these from analyzing the site – not a good look.
However, it does run in Google’s Lighthouse ! And gets 7 (SEVEN) out of 100 for ‘Performance’!!! Erm, that’s so terrible I ran it second time to check. The 2nd run it got 9. Yeah…
My site has 0 HTML or Accessibility errors in the tools I use and get 100/100 for Performance.
Looking in the site’s code, their performance score seems less surprising. It’s a bit of a mess. They’ve got SIX ‘meta keyword’ tags. You’d should only have one of those and no major search engine has used them for years anyway!
Interesting the Meta title says they’re in ‘Castroville’ (a city in Texas, USA). However, the Meta description says they’re in Bhubaneswar (a city in Odisha, India and the home of many an SEO spammer). So which is it? I know what I think as we’ll see below!
There’s two Google Analytics tags loading – WHY?!
The site uses the WordPress theme ‘SEOcify’ – a favourite among SEO spammers – but it’s not the fastest in town. They also seem to have LOTS of unused plugins running – including some rather big and server hungry ones…
The alt text on the logo is “Digital Marketing Agency In Castroville || SEO Company In Castroville || Best Digital Marketing Agency In France”. That’s not only terrible for SEO and Usability – it should be ‘Webtrolive’. It’s also amazingly spammy – and they’re in France now too?! Hmmmm.
There is only one heading 1 on the site. But it’s “We Provide 24×7 Live Support” – so nothing about SEO, their actual main business then. AND it’s half way down the page. The actually main heading at the top of the page is a heading 2. That’s not how you use HTML headings folks.
The first button you come to on the home page is one that takes you to their Paypal to pay them. Hmmmm. Yes. Really.
I’m going to reproduce the opening lines of text on the home page, because frankly, it’s a thing of beauty (well if you’re into Vogon poetry…)
In the present relentless challenge time frame where gigantic no. of business are going ahead. Having an all around characterized technique for advancement of the business is a greatest test particularly when it comes through computerized advancement or computerized advertising for tempting clients for your administrations. Here where come the SEO organizations at your salvage.
Ummm, WHAT?!?!? Has this been badly translated from another language or something?!
There’s a video testimony – from a seemingly happy client as well as two text ones, which seem to also be on other SEO sites and have amazingly stock photos next to them!
Throughout the home page it goes on about them being in Castroville (it’s on the rather rural outskirts of San Antonio). Sure enough on their contact page, there’s an address in Castroville, listed as their ‘Corporate Office’.
Looking at the address on Google maps, it’s listed on it. HOWEVER, the image on Street view (from two months ago) shows it to be a store selling flooring! And a Google of the address also lists it as a flooring store – NOT an SEO or computer/tech company!
There are two US phone numbers on the contact page. One’s in San Antonio, and the other’s in Dallas, Texas (about 300 miles from San Antonio).
But that’s not the only address, on the contact page oh no.
There’s one in Manchester, England (listed as the ‘Development Sector’ – not an office, but a ‘sector’). The address is a place where you can rent a desk by the month and is designed for small business to share meeting spaces, etc. (So it’s ‘in’ a development sector, they seem to be a bit confused.) It looks posh, but I’d frankly be amazed if they’re located anywhere near it!
But that’s not the end of the story. Because we look on the about page, there’s something VERY interesting.
Under a heading ‘Our Vission’ (complete with mis-spelling), it says:
To be viewed as a main client driven Indian SEO organization with a worldwide standpoint and to quicken our development by concentrating on top-quality conveyance of administrations.
Doing a Google for “Webtrolive Web Solution” we can find their social media accounts.
Their Instagram account doesn’t list a place, but it’s got a lot of graphics celebrating Indian holidays… As does their Facebook account – where they claim to be in Castroville.
Their Twitter account has a total of four tweets, all from the day their
domain was registered. They also have one follower who’s a web developer in… Bhubaneswar.
Their LinkedIn also says they’re in Castroville but also that many of their employees are in Odisha. The profile also has a linked profile of the company founder (although you can’t view the profile directly…). A reverse image search shows that this person and the Twitter follower are connected to the same tech training centre in Bhubaneswar. Hmmmmm.
And we can also find lots of listings of Webtrolive Web Solution in business directories in Bhubaneswar (in the part of town where I know there are many other SEO spammers) – what are the chances!?
So might Webtrolive really be in Bhubaneswar then and not really in Castroville or Manchester (or France)!?
Well, as their about page says they’re in India, they say they’re in Bhubaneswar in their Meta description and many other things also seems to suggest they’re in Bhubaneswar, my thinking is YES. (They could have some connection to the USA and UK, or even France, but I’m highly suspicious if any work every gets done there or they have legal entities in those countries. And then not listing an address in Bhubaneswar when they’re very clearly located there, is also very suspicious…)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have no issues with Indian based web companies; but I do have issues with any company that flat out lies!
There’s also a ‘numbers panel’. Apparently they’ve:
- 165,489 Support Given (considering when their domain was registered, that means they’ve done over 125 support items each day – impressive!)
- 254 + Clients Rating (rating of what exactly?!)
- 2 M+ Money Saved (in what currency and just how exactly?)
- 578 Awards won (so they’ve won over 2 awards a day every day too – they really have been busy!)
Or these could also be total rubbish…
I also thought it could be interesting to run the Webtrolive site through SEOptimer to see what their score was! Turns out their site DOES get a C…!
[Edit July 2023: I’ve had identical spam from the domains zesenweb.com and weestech.com and they’ve got fake sites, basically identical to the dellantech.com and zenproweb.com site. So yet more domains which Webtrolive are using…]
[Edit September 2023: Add gtechfy.com to the list of domains with identical sites used for spamming by Webtrolive…]
Webtrolive Web Solution are SEO spammers.
They send out spam full of flat out lies and scare tactics from multiple domains – which also have fake sites on them.
On the report they sent me, their either amazingly incompetent or ‘edited’ it to make it look much worse than it really is.
When asked to explain the issues with the report or about why they spam, they don’t answer – they just send you more spam.
Their own site is full of basic HTML errors and fake information. It also has about the worst site speed score I’ve ever seen.
So if you get an email from an email from dellantech.com or zenproweb.com (or zesenweb.com or weestech.com), the delete button is probably the best option.
But, as ever, the choice is yours…